WASHINGTON -- Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) has for months been advocating that the FBI collect data on hate crimes against Sikh Americans. Sunday's tragedy in Wisconsin, in which six people were killed at a Sikh temple, underscores his push.

The FBI and the Justice Department lump hate crimes against Sikhs together with hate crimes against Muslims -- saying that Sikhs are often targeted by individuals who mistake them as Muslim.

"This is not the first time that Sikhs have been attacked," Crowley, whose New York City district includes parts of Queens and the Bronx, told The Huffington Post in an interview on Monday. "Unfortunately it's been growing consistently, on an ongoing basis. That's what my concern has been."

In April, Crowley and 92 members of the House signed a letter to the Justice Department, urging the FBI to begin collecting data specifically on Sikh Americans. In the past year, Sikhs and their religious institutions have been threatened or attacked in New York, Michigan and Virginia. Two elderly Sikhs were murdered in March 2011.

Four days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a Sikh American gas station owner in Arizona was fatally shot by a killer who mistook him for Muslim because of his turban and his beard.

The Sikh Coalition, the largest U.S. civil rights group for Sikhs, told Reuters it has "received thousands of requests for assistance from members of the community related to employment discrimination, hate crimes and school bullying since the 9/11 attacks." Exactly how many violent incidents have occurred against Sikhs is hard tell, however, without data from the FBI.

"The Justice Department and the FBI have been reaching out to the Sikh American community," said Crowley. "But I believe -- and the community believes -- that they need to take it one step further and collect data as it pertains to the Sikh community, so that they can begin to build the record and maybe come to an understanding about why this is happening."

The FBI did not return a request for comment.

The motive of the Wisconsin shooter, who was killed by police, are still unknown. He was known to be the leader of a white supremacist band, and officials said they are treating the shooting as a "domestic terrorist-type incident."

On Tuesday, Crowley will hold an event with local elected officials and with Sikh Americans at the Shri Guru Ravidass Temple of New York to denounce Sunday's violence and to stand in solidarity with the religious community. Crowley is the co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans, has traveled to India several times. His district has a significant Sikh American population.

When asked about why there seems to be less press coverage of the Wisconsin shooting than the recent Colorado movie massacre -- not to mention a fair deal of confusion over the Sikh religion -- Crowley said he was "sad."

"Human beings are human beings," he said. "I think the people who were killed in Wisconsin, whether they're Sikh Americans or not, ought to be given the same consideration that is in the other community. I would also suggest that the Sikh American community deserves the attention and focus. Maybe this can be used as a teaching moment for who Sikhs are and what they are -- that they are people, they are hard-working people, very patriotic people as well."

Loading Slideshow...
  • Wisconsin Shooting

    A man reacts outside the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek, Wis. where a shooting took place on Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Bystanders look on as SWAT officers surround the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman stormed a mass and opened fire August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Police SWAT officers surround the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman stormed the mass and opened fire August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    A police officer surrounds the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman stormed the mass and opened fire August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Bystanders are directed by police officers as SWAT officers surround the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman stormed a mass and opened fire August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Police stand guard as bystanders watch at the scene of a shooting inside a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012. Police and witnesses describe a chaotic situation with an unknown number of victims, suspects and possible hostages.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Bystanders stand outside the scene of a shooting inside The Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wis, Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Police SWAT officers surround the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman stormed the mass and opened fire August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin. At least six people were killed when a shooter, who was shot dead by a police officer, opened fire on congregants in the Milwaukee suburb.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Map locates Oak Creek, Wis., site of shooting at Sikh temple.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    A woman reacts with others as they await word on a shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012, where police and witnesses describe a chaotic situation with an unknown number of victims, suspects and possible hostages.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Bystanders sit in the shade at the scene of a shooting inside The Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wis, Sunday, Aug 5, 2012. Greenfield Police Chief Bradley Wentlandt says tactical officers have been through the temple where shots were fired about 10:30 a.m. Sunday. He says they found four people inside the building and three people outside.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Bystanders looks on as SWAT officers surround the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman stormed a mass and opened fire August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin. At least six people were killed when a shooter, who was shot dead by a police officer, opened fire on congregants in the Milwaukee suburb.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Bystanders looks on as SWAT officers surround the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman stormed a mass and opened fire August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Armed police investigate the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wis. where a shooting took place on Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Bystanders looks on as SWAT officers surround the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman stormed a mass and opened fire August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    A bystander looks on as SWAT officers surround the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman stormed a mass and opened fire August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    A woman talks on her phone outside The Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wis., where a shooting took place Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Police personnel move outside the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wis, where a shooting took place Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    People watch police personnel outside the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wis., where a shooting took place Sunday, Aug 5, 2012.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Police personnel move outside the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wis., where a shooting took place Sunday, Aug 5, 2012.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Police personnel move outside the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wis., where a shooting took place Sunday, Aug 5, 2012.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    A police officer talks with bystanders outside the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman fired upon people at a service August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Various police personnel look into a parked vehicle outside the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman fired upon people at a service August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin. At least six people were killed when a shooter, who was later shot dead by a police officer, opened fire on congregants in the Milwaukee suburb.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    A man wipes away tears outside the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wis. where a shooting took place on Sunday, Aug 5, 2012.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    A tactical officer walks past the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman fired upon people at a service August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Women walk with a red cross worker outside the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wi, where a shooting took place Sunday, Aug 5, 2012.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    People mill around in front of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman fired upon people at a service August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    An ambulance drives down Howell Ave as SWAT officers surround the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman fired upon people at a service August, 5, 2012.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    A tactical officer runs to position as SWAT officers surround the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman fired upon people at a service on August, 5, 2012.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    SWAT officers surround the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman fired upon people at a service August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    People look on in front of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman fired upon people at a service August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    People wait for word on family and friends in front of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman fired upon people at a service August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Police guard the front of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman fired upon people at a service August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    Police guard the front of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman fired upon people at a service August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    People mill around in front of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman fired upon people at a service August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    A police officer guards an area in front of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin where at least one gunman fired upon people at a service August, 5, 2012 Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

  • Wisconsin Shooting

    A woman uses a phone as people react outside the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek, Wi, where a shooting took place Sunday, Aug 5, 2012.